Schools evaluate tornado policies after Oklahoma disaster
Liberty County Superintendent Judy Scherer
LIBERTY CO., GA (WTOC) -
Plaza Towers Elementary School in Oklahoma took a direct hit Monday with at least seven children killed there. An emergency official says hundreds of Oklahoma schools have reinforced tornado shelters, but Plaza Towers did not.
The disaster is forcing schools across the country and here at home to re-evaluate their disaster plans.
One local county administrator says she's already re-shaping their plan.
In Liberty County, school superintendent Judy Scherer says the devastation already has her rethinking tornado plans. They practice their disaster plans, she says, constantly. One thing they didn't count on was television, after students watched the disaster first hand on television.
"It's very scary and one of the things our staff has had to deal with today is a lot of our students watched TV last night and saw that school flattened and know children were lost in that," Scherer said.
As surviving children reunited with parents in Oklahoma and the remains of the school began to be sifted through, Scherer says here at home, they will take a look at evacuation plans for not only the schools, but for the buses.
Right now, they take the children into the hallways, away from windows, huddle them up, knees bend, cover their heads. On the buses, they evacuate and head for a ditch and cover their heads laying flat and low.
"We practice those plans repeatedly so students and teachers and bus drivers know what to do and if something happens you act on it and hope it works," Scherer said. "Even though you have a well laid out plan, there could be circumstances where you have to change that plan."
While Scherer says she will open up a dialogue with parents following the Oklahoma disaster to decide if changes need to be made, she did say she felt the schools were safe.
Their immediate goal is to make sure counselors are available for students who may want to talk about what they saw on TV as the situation in Oklahoma continues to unfold.